2021 — 9 speeches
Senator the Honourable Penny Wong
Penny Wong is one of Australia’s most fascinating politicians. Born in Malaysia, she moved with her family to Australia as an eight-year-old and settled in Adelaide.
She graduated in law and arts from the University of Adelaide, worked for a union, as a ministerial adviser in the NSW Labor Government, and as a lawyer, before being elected to the Senate in 2001 and taking her seat in 2002.
Penny was a quickly rising star. In 2004, just two years after taking her seat, she was elected to the Shadow Ministry. Following the election of the Labor Government in 2007, Penny was appointed the Minister for Climate Change and Water. After the 2010 election, she was appointed the Minister for Finance and Deregulation and in 2013, she became the Leader of the Government in the Senate (and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate when Labor lost the 2013 election).
Currently, Penny serves as Australia’s Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Penny has been described by her biographer as "principled, intellectual, private, restrained and sane."
She is a woman used to firsts. She was the first woman to hold the role of Leader of the Government (and the Opposition) in the Senate. She was the first Asian-born member of an Australian cabinet. She was also the first female openly-LGBTI Australian federal parliamentarian and federal government cabinet minister.